We Hungarians like to make challenging foods, layered dishes serve as a good example. Don’t worry, their preparation doesn’t call for professional skills, but you will face a big pile of messy pots and pans that have to be washed up afterwards.
Kolozsvári layered sauerkraut is one of the most often prepared sauerkraut dishes in Hungary. Despite its name it has no concern with Kolozsvár (Cluj), its recipe originates from Nagyvárad (Oradea), the capital city of Bihor County, which can be found on the western boundary of Transylvania. The town’s sub-prefect had the layered sauerkraut cooked in honour of the famous actress Déryné Széppataki Róza at some time in the 19th century. She took the recipe to Budapest, and it became the base of later versions.
The original layered sauerkraut was cooked in a large copper pot, which was lined with thick and fatty pork skin. Sauerkraut, pork, chicken, sausages and ham were layered and cooked together. The ingredients have been modified during the centuries, layered sauerkraut contains nowadays rice, pork, sausage and sour cream.
- 1 kg (~2 1/4 lb) sauerkraut
- 500 g (~1 lb) ground pork
- 200 g (~7 oz) smoked sausages, sliced
- 100 g (~3 1/2 oz) smoked bacon, chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 200 g (~7 oz) rice
- 400 ml (~13 oz) sour cream
- 1 1/2 + 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp summer savory
- 1 tbsp oil
If you find the sauerkraut too sour, wash it.
Rinse the rice and cook it in salty water ( use a 1:2 ratio of one cup of rice to two cups of water, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt).
In a pan fry the sausages in a little oil. Set aside.
In another skillet fry the chopped bacon; when the bacon releases enough lard, add finely chopped onion and garlic, and sauté until translucent. Add ground pork and fry until it turns white. Pour in a little water, sprinkle with paprika and summer savory, salt (1 1/2 tsp.) and pepper, cover and cook until tender.
Grease a medium sized casserole. Preheat the oven to 200°C / 392°F.
Line the dish with one-third of the sauerkraut. Spread half of the rice, then half of the minced meat over the sauerkraut. Place half of the sausages on top of the meat and pour over half of the lard released by sausages. Now comes the half of the remaining sauerkraut, spread one-third of the sour cream over it evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining rice and meat, put the sausage slices and pour over the rest of the lard. Cover with the remaining sauerkraut and spread sour cream on top.
Place in the oven and cook for 45-50 minutes. Take out from the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.